Where Gun Fantasies Lead You

(Trigger warnings: was written the first night after Mandalay Bay Massacre)

Behind every gun fired lies some version of a scenario where the gun helps the shooter to save the day.

These stories have various plots, from Zombie Apocalypse, to Foiled Home Invader, to Injustice Stopper, and their common thread is the gun is the hero’s tool to save the day. It works great for a 90 minute feature length film, but what happens with the hero’s gun when the actor goes home? And they have a really bad day, or week, or month. Or struggle with depression? Or suicidal thoughts?

Suicide-By-Cop is a thing now. The sick and desperate individual, too cowardly to do themselves in, knows they can put themselves in a situation where their death is assured, self-inflicted or not. And if in doing so, they make some grand statement at the expense of a few, or 59 lives they’ll never even live to mourn? All for a couple thousand dollars they can put on their credit card and have in less than 24 hours. They don’t even have to put things on lay-a-way. The irony of never having to pay off the guns recently acquired.

And what about the fantasy where the strapped, legal gun owner witnesses a crime in progress, or even a mass shooting, and they are able to intervene? How many people fantasize about that? I do, even with only 5th-kyu karate skills, I visualize the eye gouge if they are not wearing goggles, the shoulder dislocation move, where to expect the secondary weapon to come from. I know it’s a silly fantasy which would get me killed if I actually enacted it. But I’m just like any would be hero, who would be proud to have stopped such a thing.

But even a Hero Rising could not have stopped Mandalay Bay once it started.

It’s worth asking who could have stopped Mandalay Bay before it started — what systemic failure combined people falling off the edge of their own lives with easy access to firearms that can magnify that failure in a heartbeat.

But, no - the closest possible intervener would have been someone just walking by on the same floor as the shooter. They would have heard possibly gunfire from the room. Maybe thought it was popcorn? Couldn’t hear the screams over the music an 1/8 mile away? Who in their right mind but the responding SWAT team would enter that room if they thought there was a live gunner, or more than one, in there, already shooting. No, I don’t believe the fantasy applies to that. That’s for real heroes who put their lives on the line everyday. Not amateur hour, no.

And the people down at the concert? Nobody gets into that concert without leaving their guns outside, even in Nevada. Sorry, would-be Hero with a dozen weapons at home, this day was not yours to save.

(a moment of silence, respect, mourning)

He should have thrown himself out the window once he shot it out.

But he gave himself one last crack at the fantasy. The one in which the hero uses his gun to set things straight for 90 minutes, then its curtains. And the man on the silver screen never had to go home.